Let Them Read What They Want…& What They Need

When our boys were toddlers, we’d read a stack of books every night before bed. And they’d always ask for ‘just one more’.

Sure, part of it was extending bedtime. But I also recognized the enchantment in their eyes with each tale. The excitement of each page turn. The love of story.

As they grew older, we’d giggle over the antics of Captain Underpants and Junie B. Jones,

captain underpants

weep as we read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, sadako

and tremble with our own goosebumps after volume upon volume of R.L. Stine.

goosebumps

Then, one day…we didn’t.

Of course, it didn’t happen overnight. But it happened. And it wasn’t just that somehow we’d stopped sharing books together. It seemed as if they’d stopped reading for pleasure.

I tried to convince myself I hadn’t failed as a parent. (And failed.)

But then I realized they hadn’t stopped reading. Steve – who was devouring every magic book the library had to offer at age 8 – told me that David Copperfield said, “It’s not the trick, but the performance” and informed me he needed acting lessons. Alex, at 10, was already writing code for our computer.

It’s said that the body will crave what its lacking in nourishment. Our sons were reading what they wanted to. What they needed to. What their minds and hearts craved.

And it was important, as a parent, to let them do so. Whatever category. Whatever genre. Whatever format.

Now, we giggle over the hilarious video games Alex develops. And just recently, we wept over a stunning production of Spring Awakening that Steve directed and choreographed.

They never stopped loving story. They simply knew what they needed to read to create their own.

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